Trending theft hits Ucluelet

A string of thefts hit tourists particularly hard at summer's end.

A string of thefts hit tourists particularly hard at summer’s end.

Two vehicles parked on Rainforest Drive were smashed into around 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 25.

The vehicles belonged to two visiting families who were exploring the West Coast together and parked their cars to wander through the Wild Pacific Trail around 6 p.m.

They wandered for about 30 minutes before returning to find their vehicles had been broken into, according to Sgt. Jeff Swann of the Ucluelet RCMP.

“In those 30 minutes somebody came, smashed the windows, and took some electronics that were left visible,” Swann said.

“It’s just a real reminder that if you’re parking your vehicle make sure there’s no electronics visible, even if it’s just for a short visit.”

Thieves hit tourists again the next day as about 18 vehicles parked near Secret Beach were broken into between midnight and 8 a.m. on Aug. 26.

Swann said many of the vehicles belonged to a group of visiting kayakers who had come to the Coast to explore the Broken Group Islands.

“Some (vehicles) were unlocked and were rummaged through and some had their windows smashed and stuff stolen,” Swann said.

He said thefts from vehicles have been trending up across Vancouver Island this summer and while Ucluelet’s crime rate remains relatively low, thefts affect the town’s reputation.

“Thankfully, we do get very few of these but one is too many,” he said.

“I can just imagine tourists, when they have a wonderful vacation out here with the restaurants and the accommodation providers and the beaches and the weather that we’ve been having and at the end of their trip, right before they go home, their electronics and stuff are stolen. When they go home they’re going to remember that.”

He said police will ramp up their efforts to nip the troubling trend in the bud and he urges motorists to never leave visible valuables in their vehicles, especially during the busy season.

“This summer has been so crazy busy with tourists, I think it’s the busiest year on record, and with that comes a small minority of the population that thrives on that,” he said.

“They love when there’s lots of tourists in the area because it gives them more targets of opportunity…They’re not contributing to society in any way and they’re just wrecking people’s lives by stealing their stuff.”

Swann urges anyone with any information about last week’s thefts to contact police at 250-726-7773.

“That’s the kind of stuff that we need to work together as a community to stop,” he said.

 

andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca